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RIP supermarket banks: M&S closes its in-store branches today

Current accounts will follow with their closure in August.

a store with shelves and boxes

Marks & Spencer.

Just a few years ago, supermarkets adding financial services was all the rage. 

In the post-financial crisis era, with trust in banks at a record low, these grocery giants angled to become the new ‘challenger banks’.

Tesco Bank, M&S Bank and Sainsbury’s Bank, capitalised on the opportunity with competitive rates and vast numbers of products, including mortgages. 

Nowadays that trend is fast-disappearing, with Marks & Spencer’s banking arm becoming the latest to call time on several of its financial offerings.

M&S Bank, which operates 29 in-store branches and has between 3m and 4m customers, is closing all of its branches today.

This move in itself is unsurprising, given consumers’ shifting demands to mobile, however the division will follow through in August with the closure of its current accounts too.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s is reportedly working to sell its banking division after slumping to a £21m loss last year, and both Tesco and Sainsbury’s scrapped their mortgage offerings in 2019 after a lending price war.

Following the closure of its current accounts Marks & Spencer, like the other supermarket banks, will instead refocus its efforts on credit cards—although in an era of buy-now-pay-later, one wonders if this is too little, too late.

Customers with existing M&S Bank current accounts will have until 31 August to close their accounts or use the Current Account Switching Service to move their balances.

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